Chelsea Thompson

Office of the Director



NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory
325 Broadway, R/CSL
Boulder, CO 80305 USA


My research primarily entails study of reactive trace gases in the troposphere, including sources and emissions, chemical reactions and transformations in the atmosphere, and air quality impacts. This work has involved both measurement and modeling studies on ozone, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, and halogen radical species on regional to global scales. A particular interest of mine are the cross-domain chemical connections and influences that occur throughout the Earth System between, e.g., the atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere.


Ph.D., Purdue University, 2012
B.S., University of Central Florida, 2006


  • Tropospheric chemistry of reactive trace gases in polluted and remote atmospheres
  • Air quality impacts of anthropogenic emissions and wildfire emissions
  • Chemical pathways leading to production and/or loss of tropospheric ozone
  • Chemistry and transport of reactive nitrogen species (NO, NO2, NOy)
  • Chemistry of reactive halogen species (Br, Cl, I) in the troposphere
  • Photochemistry on snow and ice
  • Air-surface interactions (ocean, snow/ice, particles) and heterogeneous processes

Current Topics

A large portion of my current research is focused on the sources, chemistry, transport, and air quality impacts of reactive nitrogen oxide compounds (NOy) and ozone in the troposphere. Reactive nitrogen oxide compounds include NO and NO2 (collectively termed NOx) that are primarily sourced from combustion, both anthropogenic and natural (e.g., wildfires), as well as HNO3, PAN, HONO, N2O5, and a variety of organic nitrates. NOx, in conjunction with volatile organic compounds, is the primary source of tropospheric ozone, a secondary air pollutant that is commonly an air quality concern for heavily-populated, urban areas. To study these compounds, I conduct airborne measurements of NO, NO2, NOy and O3 on board instrumented research aircraft (NOAA WP-3D and NASA DC-8) with a chemiluminescence instrument built in our laboratory at NOAA.

Past and Current Projects

2009:  OASIS  (Ocean-Atmosphere-Sea Ice-Snowpack)

2013:  UBWOS  (Uinta Basin Winter Ozone Study)

2015:  SONGNEX  (Shale Oil and Natural Gas Nexus)

2016 – 2018:  NASA ATom  (Atmospheric Tomography)

2016 – 2019:  FIREX  (Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments Experiment)

Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

last modified: December 1, 2019